Jesadaphorn/Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH

Opinion

Hollywood is Now Responding to Sexual Abuse Like It's a PR Problem

Three weeks after a New York Times investigative report outed Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual predator, the story is still rolling along like a giant snowball—one that keeps acquiring more pairs of legs sticking out of it as it accelerates down a crowded ski slope on the way to smashing into the Hollywood sign. In addition to Weinstein’s fellow perps, a whole lot of clay feet are also on display, from George Clooney’s to Quentin Tarantino’s. Whether they’re claiming ignorance of their friend and patron Harvey’s malevolent treatment of women or, as in Tarantino’s case, remorsefully conceding that they did know about some of it and just didn’t man up, every XY-chromosomed actor and director who has ever benefited from Weinstein’s hard-driving largesse is now getting hard looks for being an enabler.

The paradox is that Clooney’s disingenuousness makes it likely he’ll skate away unscathed, while Tarantino’s struggle to be relatively honest makes him seem more complicit. Even though Clooney has often said he’ll never run for office, he could give most professional politicians lessons in how to regurgitate the right pieties. Nimbly shifting the topic from his own association with Weinstein to valorous bromides about How We Must All Make Sure This Behavior Won’t Be Tolerated Anymore is his game plan, and a good one. That’s why it’s being widely imitated.


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